American Elephants

Not Surprising, but Disappointing, Mr. Obama. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has decided to give the funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher the same treatment he gave to the funeral of Hugo Chavez, dictator of Venezuela. He has opted for a presidential delegation including no current politicians to be led by George Shultz and James Baker both of whom served as U.S. Secretary of State when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of England. Mr. Obama has gone out of his way regularly to demonstrate his ideological opposition to the United Kingdom and his small, crass, lack of manners. He forgets that he represents the country and assumes that, as usual it is all about him.

Whether he approved of Mrs. Thatcher or not, she remains a towering world historical figure who stood firmly with American President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul to bring down the Soviet empire. Lord Powell, her private secretary and friend wrote:

She was a remarkable woman, a true leader, relentless in her determination to improve the condition of Britain.” Lady Thatcher had faults, but to acknowledge them “does not diminish the unmatched scale of her achievements as prime minister. She killed off socialism in this country, changed the face of Britain and rescued us from being a nation in retreat.”

John O’Sullivan a long time confidante wrote that she was a mix of the meritocratic and the charismatic, “combination of towering world-historical figure and ordinary middle-class housewife”. The ordinariness is important: Lady Thatcher proved that a woman from a non-privileged background could rise to the top of the Tory party and become prime minister. But her flair and determination to win was what made her a true leader rather than a run-of-the-mill politician. Nothing better reflected that than the courage she showed during the Falklands conflict – her insistence upon liberating the islands rather than negotiating with the invaders. There was a similar refusal to compromise in her dealings with the Soviet Union, offering moral leadership abroad to millions resisting the tyranny of communism.

She was a great lady, and the world was better for her stubborness and determination.

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You know, to be perfectly honest, I really don’t think Obama’s heart is in it anymore. Did you see his statement after the bombings in Boston? Inspiring… sort of, in an office memo kind of way. It was the kind of bland, pro forma statement that Carney would make.

For Mrs. Thatcher’s funeral, he most certainly would not have gone himself, because as a visiting Head of State at services for a former Head of Government, he would be expected to say a few words. Obama didn’t know her, disagreed with pretty much all she stood for, and would have been much more interested in pandering to the liberals in THAT country than in paying her any actual respect (so he may have done the appropriate thing after all!). Besides, I’m pretty sure he thinks he made the definitive tribute to her in his (self-serving, mealy-mouthed, ignorant of history) statement after she passed away… why should he say anything more, or pay her any kind of additional respect?

It’s situations like these that Obama’s weakness truly shows through. These are events that call for inspiration, for pulling people together. I will be the first to admit that George W. Bush was not a great speaker, but after 9/11 he had united the country (if only for a little while) and everyone knew where we stood and what our national resolve was. He was able to do this because his nature is to be positive, and have a positive outlook. This is not Obama’s nature. Obama does not inspire, he incites. Obama does not unite people with purpose, he divides them with jealousy and envy. He does not seek to put attention where it belongs, but tries to insert himself personally into any event, whether it is appropriate to do so or not. He is a political animal, and everything he does is done according to a political calculation, with the goal of defeating the other, whoever that may be.

But his schtick is wearing thin, and fewer and fewer people are impressed with the things he has to say (and getting less interested, as well). His whole purpose of re-election was to try and save as much of his first-term agenda as he could, and to try and “build his legacy”. But he has no tangible purpose, no driving motivation other than to beat his opponents, and without something positive to reach for, that desire to defeat can slowly begin to pull you apart, especially if you find that you aren’t winning what you thought you should.

Obama (and we, as a Nation) has a long second term ahead of him.


Comment by Lon Mead

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